Twenty-five years after they first cracked out of their shells, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live on. Variety is confirming what our Italian scoop stallion, Antonello Blueberry, passed along last week. John Fusco has been tapped to breathe new life into the upcoming next live-action take of the property that will relaunch Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael and their master Splinter in a new film franchise to bow in 2011. Fusco, who's no novice to martial arts and Shaolin kung fu, has penned The Forbidden Kingdom, a revision of The Seven Samurai, Hidalgo and Young Guns.
John will incorporate elements of the original "Turtles" comic series by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman. Scott Mednick and Galen Walker ("TMNT") are producing through Mirage Studios, which owns the "Turtles," and TMNT Prods., respectively. Laird, Gary Richardson, Frederick Fierst, Eric Crown and Napoleon Smith III will serve as executive producers.No director or studio are yet attached to the project, which is being funded through Lightbox Prods. 4Kids Entertainment is handling licensing for the pic.
The sewer-dwelling characters, who love eating pizza when not fighting villains, starred in four pics for New Line in the early 1990s that earned more than $323 million worldwide. An animated feature in 2007 helped reignite interest in the turtles, minting $95 million for Warner Bros.